Richard enters guilty plea in McCloud case

Richard,Eric mugEric Kaprice Richard, charged with punching a man last year at a Stillwater nightspot, pleaded guilty Monday morning to first-degree assault in 10th Judicial District Court.

Richard originally faced homicide charges in connection with the Sept. 28, 2012, assault and subsequent death of Adam McCloud. But the Washington County Attorney’s Office dropped the homicide charges in April when the Ramsey County Medical Examiner’s Office could not rule McCloud’s death a homicide after learning that McCloud apparently fell out of his bed at Regions Hospital in St. Paul.

McCloud died on Oct. 4, 2012, after suffering a series of strokes while being treated at Regions for nose, right orbital bone and skull fractures and intercranial bleeding that caused respiratory failure after he and Richard got into an altercation at Smalley’s Carribbean Barbeque over a spilled drink.

Richard’s attorney, Krista Marks, acknowledged to the court that the altercation didn’t rise to the level of self-defense and continued with questioning to establish what Judge William B. Eckstrum called sufficient evidence of what occurred that evening.

Marks began with a list of events posed as questions to which Richard answered, “Yes.”
Richard admitted to being at Smalley’s the night of the incident and at some point encountering McCloud while dancing. Richard added that he did not know McCloud before the incident occurred.

Richard said at some point, McCloud spilled his drink, picked up Richard’s drink and drank the rest of it, then said he would buy Richard another one and went back to dancing. Richard also affirmed that he and McCloud went up to the bar minutes later and there was a dispute about who would pay for the drink.

Richard also admitted that McCloud got upset about paying for the drink because McCloud possibly didn’t remember Richard.

Richard also answered yes to a question from Marks about being pushed three or four times by McCloud and falling against the edge of the bar, Richard admitted getting up from the bar and intentionally punching McCloud at least two times, knocking McCloud down and causing him to hit his head.

Richard then affirmatively responded that he knew McCloud was taken to the hospital where he was diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury which resulted in the charge of first-degree assault.

Washington County Attorney Karin McCarthy went on with a second round of questioning in which Richard admitted that the altercation with McCloud was caught on videotape and that he had seen the tape. But Richard hesitantly said there were inconsistencies between his story and surveillance tape.

“It only shows the front of the bar,” he said.

“But you do admit that there was some sort of dispute at the bar,” McCarthy asked.
Richard then agreed with McCarthy.

“So after the drink spilled and you went up to the bar with Adam McCloud, you have said there was a brief altercation at the bar, but at least one individual grabbed McCloud to pull him away and that’s when you went after him, punching him and causing his fall,” McCarthy said.

Richard again agreed with McCarthy.

McCarthy added that in addition to suffering the traumatic brain injury, McCloud also suffered a significant skull fracture which is why the charge of first-degree assault and significant bodily harm was brought against Richard.

“I am aware of the number of people that have attended these hearings, and the purpose of this questioning is not to flesh out the details or say one side’s case over the other, but admitting sufficient events facts to justify that sufficient investigation during this case has occurred, and I am satisfied that this has,” Eckstrum said.

Eckstrum ordered a pre-sentence investigation and scheduled a Dec. 10 sentencing hearing. Marks said the state, if no bail conditions are violated, would ask for 86 months (slightly more than seven years) in prison and she would ask for a shorter term.

If bail conditions are violated, it’s expected the state will ask for 103 months (8.5 years) in prison. Eckstrum also cautioned that if bail conditions are violated, the court is free to consider all circumstances at that time.

Contact Avery Cropp at [email protected]